Elon Musk completed his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter Oct. 27. One of the most influential social media sites is now in the hands of a reckless billionaire and many are predicting the end of the app is near.
“The bird is freed,” Musk tweeted after finalizing the deal.
Since the bird was freed, The Network Contagion Research Institute, a group who analyzes hundreds of millions of messages across social media, said use of the n-word on Twitter spiked nearly 500 percent. This happened across a span of 12 hours after Musk’s takeover.
Musk immediately fired Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde. He will have to pay them nearly $200 million for shares, base pay, health insurance and the stock they had stood to receive in the future.
Musk’s plan became clear when half of the company’s workforce had been eliminated Oct. 28th. Around 7,500 employees had their Twitter email accounts shut down, indicating their termination.
Twitter creator Sarah Lugor tweeted out a statement in response to the layoffs, expressing disappointment in the situation:
Former employee Shannon Raj Singh also took to Twitter to share news about the company’s decisions. She said the entire Human Rights team was cut — a team that helped users at risk of human rights abuse due to their social media presence.
In response, advertisers have pulled back in fear that misinformation and hate speech would be allowed to thrive on the platform now that Musk is in charge. Musk proceeded to blame the lack of advertising on activist groups pressuring advertisers. He offered no explanation behind that theory.
Continuing his reckless rampage on Nov. 7, it was reported that Musk was contacting recently fired employees to ask them to return to the company. Many rejected the request because of the blatant disregard for the time they’d put into the company as well as their contribution to Twitter’s operations when they were initially laid off.
Perhaps most controversially on Nov. 9, Musk implemented a problematic feature into the app. Users could pay $8 for Twitter Blue, with the emphasized benefit of a verified checkmark next to your name.
Twitter Blue is an optional, paid monthly subscription service. In addition to the checkmark, users who pay the $8 can edit tweets, post longer videos and have access to priority notifications.
“I don’t like the lords and peasants situation where some people have a blue check,” Musk said in a Twitter Circles session. “Maybe this is a dumb decision, but we’ll see.”
This is an especially strange statement to make, considering he added a feature on the same day that labeled accounts of verified people as “official,” only to remove the feature within a few hours.
On Nov. 6, he threatened temporary loss of the verified checkmark in the case of a name change on the account. He also solidified there would be no warning to suspension considering the widespread verification.
“To all complainers, please continue complaining, but it will cost $8,” Musk said on Twitter earlier this month.
These seem like strict rules for a guy who bought a social media platform for billions of dollars on the platform of free speech. It sounds like free speech will cost a little bit of money.
By Nov. 11, he paused Twitter Blue. There were several cases of brand impersonation which caused stock dives. Users that bought Twitter Blue prior, however, still have the benefits.
His decisions could lead to a destructive ending. On Nov. 17, #RIPTwitter began trending, and many are anticipating the end of the app.
The most disappointing fact is Twitter and creator partnerships were thriving. People behind the scenes dedicated their work to protecting user rights online and eliminating hate speech. With Musk in the picture, the future is uncertain, and many are just waiting for his next wrong decision.